Ghar Waapsi is strewn in pithy wit. And believable scenes of pyaar and takraar, observes Sukanya Verma.
Man'S survival instincts kick hardest in crisis.
With the growing fear of coronavirus infecting people, indoor existence became a necessity for office-going professionals.
Though work-from-home started out as a safety measure, it changed a lot of prevailing notions about living and livelihoods after young individuals who moved cities for the sake of their job returned to their family home.
Going back to their hometown proved a lot more practical and painless as worry made way for warm, homemade food.
Not everyone was lucky enough to enjoy such workcation. Many found themselves at the receiving end of ruthless layoffs and had no choice but move in with their parents in the face of no income and burgeoning rent.
Conceptualised by creative director Kartik Krishnan and directed by Ruchir Arun, Dice Media's six-part Web series does not mention the pandemic but Ghar Waapsi quarter-life crisis addresses the evolving status quo.
Growing up, the idea of professional ambition and rat race are so intensely implanted into one's head that one forgets to ask whether or not he or she desires it as much as family and society expects one to.
What if someone doesn't wish to pursue greener pastures?
What if they enjoy staying out of the rat race?
What if someone likes a slower pace?
What if one doesn't want to get out of his or her comfort zone?
It's like Ghar Waapsi's protagonist laments, 'Yeh kaunsi race hai jiski finishing line hi nahi hai?'
Shekhar Dwivedi (Vishal Vashishtha) has got the pink slip.
But his folks (Atul Srivastava, Vibha Chibber) in Indore still think their late 20s-something son is working as a junior manager in a shopping start-up of Bengaluru.
Rather like typical desi parents, they exaggerate their child's credentials in front of prospective marriage proposals.
Back home after a long gap, Shekhar basks in the affection of his parents and small-town bonhomie oblivious of the reality but is out of touch with his siblings with whom he once shared a close rapport.
His younger brother Sanju (Saad Bilgrami) and kid sister Suruchi (Anushka Kaushik) hide their disappointment in sarcasm and smiles. One is occupied in shady business deals, another is bunking classes to see a boy.
When not juggling interviews, dodging money lenders or pitching ideas to save his father's dwindling travel agency, 'Steve without Jobs' is all about family and friends.
There's his all-heart, artless best friend Darshan (Ajitesh Gupta), classmate-turned-soulmate Riddhima (Akanksha Thakur) and the US-returned cafe owner Maneesh Bhaiya (Gyanendra Tripathi). When the latter is asked his reason to set business back home, he quips, 'Chai wale desh chala rahen hain toh hum bhi US se laut aaye.'
Ghar Waapsi is strewn in pithy wit. And believable scenes of pyaar and takraar.
But before Shekhar is hit by a Garden State-meets-Swades reminiscent epiphany about returning to one's roots, Ghar Waapsi's coming-of-age takes its own sweet time to unravel.
Most of it is just quotidian details enriched by the good-natured realism of its excellent cast conversing in free-flowing lines seasoned with Indori flavours.
The pace seems a bit dawdling at times but allows us to see the telling differences between the two worlds Ghar Waapsi wants to merge.
Shekhar's mildly sophisticated air points out at his independent existence outside home in an urban space as he struggles to renew ties with a parochial life that hasn't budged an inch from where he left it behind. His parents are products of their time but well-meaning enough to try the change.
Ghar Waapsi is a sum of Shekhar's experiences across a journey that starts off awkwardly but finds value as he goes along.
While I felt exasperated by Shekhar's professional indecision and privileged perspective, and wasn't entirely convinced of his fondness for home or how neatly complex issues are resolved, Ghar Waapsi packs in enough charm to anticipate its one big happy reunion.
Ghar Waapsi's nostalgia for home, generational parent-child conflict, taken-for-granted pals, small-town aspirations and prejudices are shrewdly woven in the context of a man's attraction for wholesome living over monotony of the gainfully employed.
Like most Dice Media creations, there's tons of talking and philosophising but it's all good when the actors walk the talk.
It's the straight-from-heart performances by its cast that lend the scenes the richness of real life.
Be it the comforting manner of Atul Srivastava's wisdom, the harmless hostility in Vibha Chibber's scorn, Anushka Kaushik's twinkling mischief, Saad Bilgrami's simmering indignation, Ajitesh Gupta's long-time-coming outburst or an able Vishal Vashishtha living up to his 'empathy is my superpower' claims, they all contribute in making Ghar Waapsi immensely watchable.
Ghar Wapsi streams on Disney+Hotstar.